Last week we started our Pathways conversations with our Year 10 students. At the beginning of this process, which will ultimately lead to their decision about whether to take Full IBDP, DP Courses, or SBDP, they are still wide-eyed and confused. As Year 10 students, these kids are only 15 or 16 years old and many of them haven’t figured out what they’re going to do over the weekend, let alone what career path they want to follow. Yet, as they begin to consider their Pathway for Year 11 and 12, they are being asked to simultaneously consider their field of study for university and what career they would like to pursue…yikes!
Personally, this is crazy to me! I told these kids and their parents a little about myself as an introduction to this conversation: When I was their age I knew I was going to be an architect, 100%. Then, by the time I finished Year 11, I really had it figured out, I was going to be an accountant. In fact, I was almost three years into my accounting degree when I realized I wanted to be an educator. How could I have been so wrong and what changed for me to make such a huge jump?
I didn’t know it when I made the decision to walk into the College of Education at my university but that day, for the first time ever, I was pursuing my passion. I can see it now in hindsight but at the time if you would’ve asked me why I was there, I would’ve had no answer for you. I was there, however, because I was passionate about coaching. I had begun coaching younger kids in basketball when I was in High School and had continued through university. It was something I enjoyed and was something more than just a summer job. It was, without even knowing it, my passion.
I’m sharing this today because I want to ask you to do two things:
First off, take the time to step back and reflect about why you got into teaching in the first place. I saw a great Twitter post the other day, “Said no teacher ever…’I became a teacher for the money and fame’.” I’m guessing that money and fame weren’t your motivations, so what were your reasons? Why are you an educator today?
Secondly, I’m begging you, please, to take some time and share how you identified your passion(s) with your students. Perhaps you knew when you were 15 years old, or perhaps you were more like me and had an epiphany later in life. Whatever the case may be, take a few minutes and share that story with your kids. Explain to them why you’re telling them this story, let them know that this process isn’t always easy and that at 15 it’s okay not to know their whole life plan.
If you ask me, we’re lucky, we’re the wise ones who identified the passion for teaching in ourselves and were lucky enough to choose the greatest profession ever 🙂 Share that story with your students, and while you’re at it, share it with each other!